All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015
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First of all – I want to point out some new eggs I found. I am not vegan – though I wish I were & will likely be one day – but until then, I feel real guilt whenever I buy cheese and especially when I buy eggs. Free-range is a bullshit fraud. Watch THIS video (sad but not graphic) of a bunch of free-range hens being released to a sanctuary & tell me that you think they led happy lives. They clearly did not.
So, I have been buying pastured eggs & paying about a dollar each for them. That is OK – because I don’t eat a lot of eggs & I am happy to have my money support genuinely humane farming practices. So – imagine my delight when I saw this brand of eggs selling for about $6 a dozen.
Vital Farms even includes the above little flyer explaining the lives of their ladies. I love that they call them ladies. Anyway – assuming they are not pulling off some elaborate hoax – these guys seem to be a good source for eggs that come from happy chickens. I got mine at a local Ralph’s but their site lists other venders. Look for one near you!
Ok – onto this pasta. A Facebook friend requested it & I could not believe I had not already posted the recipe. This dish is an old regular of mine from 25 years ago & there is a funny story that goes with it. I used to make it all the time at home & for company & many of my friends had asked for the recipe. One day, my then boyfriend & I were served a mushroom cream pasta dish at my friend Angie’s. My boyfriend took one taste & looked at me and said, “Babe! This is amazing! You have to ask for her recipe!”
Yeah. Well – it WAS my recipe. The only difference was that she added salt to hers & I was still brainwashed into thinking using salt was a capital sin. I learned that lesson well that day & now I consider salt a genuine ingredient in most things – not just a forgettable & optional seasoning. There are all kinds of fancy salts widely available now, too, and some even have healthy benefits. Pink Himalayan salt, for example, boasts these benefits:
- Create an electrolyte balance
- Increases hydration
- Regulate water content both inside and outside of cells
- Balance pH (alkaline/acidity) and help to reduce acid reflux
- Prevent muscle cramping
- Aid in proper metabolism functioning
- Strengthen bones
- Lower blood pressure
- Help the intestines absorb nutrients
- Prevent goiters
- Improve circulation
- Dissolve and eliminate sediment to remove toxins
So, yeah – use salt. Salt is not just a flavor unto itself. It also brings out & enhances other flavors. Trust me. Too much is awful but just the right amount is magic.
Fried Sage and Mushroom Cream Pasta Sauce with Orecchiette
Feeds 2 very well
1/2 pound pasta cooked according to package instructions
10 or more fresh sage leaves
1 lb mushrooms (of nearly any variety or mix) – sliced
2 shallots – chopped
3 garlic cloves – chopped
1 cup heavy cream (more if you want a heavier cream sauce) – or vegan alternative
1/4 cup grated Parmesan – (more if you want a heavier cream sauce) – or vegan alternative
Salt & pepper to taste
Parsley – chopped as garnish (it adds a lot of flavor!)
Extra Parmesan for garnish
Cook the pasta. Reserve about a cup of the pasta water (in case you need it to thin your sauce later) & drain the pasta.
Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil over med-high heat & fry the sage a few minutes. It need not brown. Drain on paper towels.
Add the mushrooms & about a tsp of salt & raise the heat to high. The salt will help the mushrooms release their moisture. Stir the mushrooms occasionally – letting them get seared. When they are nice & brown – add about another TBS of olive oil & the shallots & garlic. Fry for about 2 minutes & then add the cream & Parmesan. Crumble the fried sage & add that to the sauce. Bring to a boil & then lower to a simmer. It should thicken very quickly. Use more cream & cheese if you want a pasta with more sauce. Add some pasta water if it gets too thick. When it is the consistency of a heavy cream sauce – season to taste with salt & pepper. Add the pasta, stir to combine & serve it up. Garnish liberally with chopped parsley & maybe more Parmesan.